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Report: Murdoch Eyes Italy TV Firm

March 19, 1998

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is continuing negotiations for a stake in the Italian TV and advertising company Mediaset, the Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.

It said News Corp. could take slightly less than a 30% stake in Mediaset. The report said that institutional investors could also take a stake.

Spokespeople for Mediaset and News Corp. weren’t immediately available to comment, but the newspaper noted that Silvio Berlusconi had denied the possibility of selling a stake just Wednesday.

Berlusconi, an ex-prime minister and leader of the conservative opposition, controls Mediaset through his Fininvest retail and media holding company. The company had previously denied such rumors.

He said Wednesday that Mediaset is talking with Murdoch, as well as with other potential partners and repeated that these talks would be aimed at international collaboration efforts.

Rumors that Murdoch could take a stake in Mediaset have been circulating for about a month. His offer to buy Mediaset, which controls three commercial television stations, three years ago was rebuffed.

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